These days there don't seem to be a lot of reasons to feel good.
If anyone had reason to feel sorry for themselves it was the Pilgrims that first Thanksgiving in 1621. Maybe we imagine a table groaning with food, but that's not likely. Late the previous autumn they had landed at Plymouth, MA, with 102 people. Then over the winter 47 family members and friends had perished, including 14 of the original 18 adult women.
Yet the survivors set aside a day to give thanks to God.
Then and now, having a thankful heart has nothing to do with abundance.
Gratitude flows from remembering the Giver
Here it is: Keep gratitude lists for our lives, one for each family member, one for work, one for school, etc. Use regular paper or sticky notes. The process is simple.
- Look for things to be thankful for in each person and in each situation
- Add to our list(s) whenever we notice something more
- Reread our lists (or notes) frequently
- Notice how our awareness and sense of gratitude grows
Even troubled people in hard circumstances found their point-of-view changed, he said. Individuals became happier and more contented even if everything in their lives remained the same.
It's a step in learning to be happy, independent of anyone or anything else. Rich or poor, married or single, our happiness is our own responsibility.
Taking it one step further
One speaker suggested using sticky notes in other ways. She wrote reminders to herself and placed them around the house. Like "Remember your diet!" on her stash of chocolates.
This gal was working on becoming a more positive person. She wrote the word, "Smile!" on sticky notes and put them on her bathroom mirror, on her computer screen, over the stove, in her car, etc.
Later she began writing favorite Bible passages and sticking them up, every day a new one. She found it made a dramatic difference in her perspective on life.
I've done that in a sort of disorganized fashion. Here are some of my favorite reassuring verses:
The joy of the LORD is your strength. --Nehemiah 8:10
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed. He remembers that we are dust. -- Psalm 103 :13-14
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,l though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. --Psalm 46:1-2
Reason for thanks, even if we're at the end of our rope
The Pilgrims didn't have sticky notes and times were tough, but they knew the real "why" for giving thanks.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. --Psalm 118:29 (NASB)
Blessings to you and yours this Thanks-giving. I give thanks for each of you who stop by for a visit, truly.
Q. Do you have a favorite Bible verse to share?